The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, has presented the demands of various unions that had embarked on strike to President Muhammadu Buhari for his possible intervention.
Fielding questions from State House correspondents after the presentation at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Ngige said he briefed the president on the strikes embarked upon by various unions in the country.
According to him, the president directed his Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, and other relevant stakeholders, to ensure that they resolved the problems with the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) so that the ongoing strike could be called off.
“I have to brief the President on the labour industrial milieu in the country. You know that we are like in a season of strikes.
“We have the strike baton by the resident doctors, actively supported by the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA). And we held certain meetings at which we reached some agreements in a conciliation.
“And I had to brief him ahead of the efforts we are making in those areas, like we agreed that the hazard allowance should be reviewed.
”And as a matter of fact, before they embarked on the strike, my ministry and the Presidential Committee on Salaries, had initiated what we can call a pre-emptive arrangement to make for further discussion by all the stakeholders.
”Federal Ministry of Health, Salary, Income and Wages Commission, the health unions, the NMA that is leading National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Association of Dental and Medical consultants, Association of General Duty Doctors, and others,” he added.
According to him, JOHESU would lead Nurses and Midwives Association, pharmacists, lab technologists, and other people working in the health sector, under the big umbrella of Medical and Health Workers Union.
“That meeting has kick-started. And we know from our initial meetings and the data we have, we have an idea of what amount of money that will be consumed or utilised to effect this change, which is going to be a permanent change.
He said that this would not be like what had happened in 2020 when the government did a special COVID-19 allowance, amounting to N20 billion.
“And when we started the payment, it gulped a whopping N32 billion. So, we are working now to make the health workers feel that they are appreciated, and that the efforts are appreciated by government. So, I have briefed him on that too,” he said.